Open Innovation: What's Behind the Buzzword?

TitleOpen Innovation: What's Behind the Buzzword?
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsManceau, D, Moatti, V, Fabbri, J, Kaltenbach, P-F, Bagger-Hansen, L

In the current context of intensified competition, accelerated globalization and economic downturn, many companies are opening their innovation processes by integrating a large pool of partners - individuals, companies, research labs and public structures - in order to innovate more and faster. ‘Open Innovation’ is now a real buzzword that many companies and academics constantly refer to. To study the reality behind this trend, Accenture and the Institute for Innovation and Competitiveness i7, created by ESCP Europe, have investigated the current practices of companies that have been leveraging Open Innovation for several years to boost their overall innovation performance. They analyzed what Open Innovation changes in the way these companies build and handle external partnerships, organize and stimulate innovation internally. They then studied the perceived impact on innovation performance.

This study shows that Open Innovation generates a structured and systematic approach to ‘bring Outside Inside’ that goes far beyond network innovation that some companies have been practicing for years. It has stirred a real switch from rather random/experimental approaches to a manageable end-to-end process enabling to tap into an almost unlimited pool of external sources. Open Innovation covers a wide range of practices from topic-oriented and partner-oriented to fully open approaches, and requires investment and change management to move the company's culture from resistance to "not invented here" innovations to enthusiasm for "proudly found elsewhere” projects. Companies have difficulty defining KPIs to measure the impact of Open Innovation, just as for innovation in general, but they point out how much this approach shortens the time to market, increases the number of innovative projects, stimulates IP protection, and fuels sustainability.